All posts by John

Guest post: Opening a human mind

Zdravim John,

skusil som napisat prvy clanok.  Ak sa ti paci mozes ho publikovat. Ak chces pokracovat dalej, daj mi vediet, alebo mozes sa spytat svojich citatelov ci maju zaujem aby som pokracoval. No hard feelings ak to s tebou alebo citatelmi nerezonuje. Je to v anglictine, pretoze mi to tak naozaj ide lepsie. Ak to chce niekto prelozit nemam problem to editovat, ci sa v preklade nieco nestratilo.  Nakonci som pripojil moju email adresu, ak by niekto nieco chcel aby si to nemusil riesit ty. 

Prajem prijemny den,

Rudy

Part 1 – Introduction – Opening a human mind

In this series of articles we are going to address intricacies of a human mind. And because this website is dedicated to entrepreneurship, our focus will be just that. We will discuss why some people are naturally successful in business and others are not, why reading self-improvement books does not really help, why at the pivotal moments we just can’t make that right business decision, then why we justify that it is because of our lack of experience, yet years go by and nothing changes. The above description may completely describe you, partially describe you, not describe you at all, and you may be aware of it, partially aware, or have no awareness of it at all. At the end it really does not matter. However in order to address these entrepreneurship topics, we have to look under the hood first in order to gain understanding. So the first few articles will be dedicated to this purpose. Subsequent articles will reference rich knowledge from these initial introductions.

Know yourself and you will know your destiny, because you are your own destiny.” – oracle

My name is Rudy and I am a chemical engineer. I never studied psychology in school, however due to my own personal events, I studied psychology very deeply on my own and today I am where I am. Through these articles I’d like to share with you what I have learned, hoping to give an opportunity of self-discovery and self-growth to those of you that seek it.

The purpose of today’s article is to open your mind to ideas that you may otherwise reject.  I am asking you to recognize that even in the world of macro physics, lot of physical laws today are based on empirical observations and ‘curve fitting’ and not based on understanding of matter and energy on a quantum level.  Whether it is Newton’s law, laws of thermodynamics, or e.g. Reynold’s number is heavily used in chemical engineering when designing pumps and pipes. They are all based on empirical observations and sometimes ‘guess work’. Or in other words, while maybe not fundamentally correct, they give us a framework that works in the scope that is practical for us and it works. They allow us to build amazing machines, amazing processes, and factories and thus technologies seen today. But at the end, they may not be exactly correct on a microscopic level – they may even be wrong. At the end however all of these theories, or laws as we call them, are just human inventions that metaphorically describe the world as we perceive it. Similarly, we have decimal number system only because we, humans, have 10 fingers. From childhood we are taught to think in decimal system. Not until later years, we can learn and recognize that there are other number systems that may even be better and more practical. But let’s recognize here that without a decimal system first we would never arrive at more complex and abstract systems. Thus, while not as omnipotent as we believe the decimal system to be, it is very practical in our world, and without it, more complex systems could not be learned. We first need to learn a metaphorical framework that is simpler, makes sense for us at the moment before we can move onto more complex and abstract models. First step, if you will. But if we deny, refuse the simple, we not only cannot learn more abstract, but we do not even allow ourselves to be productive with the simple framework in a world where the simple is good enough.

Similarly, psychology is trying to study patterns of human behavior. Identify associations, decisions, mental processes and everything that a human mind brings. There are many psychological theories, but at the end they are all just metaphorical approximations to what is going on underneath. Some are better than others. Some of these theories may be simple, but they may describe certain situations well. They may describe our behavior on a macroscopic level, but completely miss the point on a microscopic level. But if we deny them before we even try to understand them, we are denying ourselves an opportunity to learn. From simple to something more complex. We kill it before it even has a time to evolve into something more complex and more real.  So for example, when psychology describes that we have an ‘inner child’ that steers us away from making a good business decision, our immediate reaction may be ‘this is bullshit’, or a ‘psychobabble’. But I challenge you that the word ‘child’ is a metaphor here. Some theories call it ‘a part’, ‘a shadow’, ‘soul’, ‘demon’. All are bullshit, right? Well, it does not matter what you call it, it is a metaphorical word describing a neural connection in your brain that activates by certain external trigger and it actually can be identified by MRI – as I will mention in later articles with specific examples.  Or in other words, in a certain situation a neural network in our mammalian limbic system can be triggered which directs our behavior and decision making (yes, decision making too and all conscious justifications along with it).  Shall we call it neural pathway? Or a child? Shadow? RWG676? Does it matter? Whatever word we use, it just metaphorically describes the physical neural network and its activation under certain trigger.

As such, I am asking you here to be open minded to the words and sentences I choose. They are mine and they may not perfectly fit your current state of mind, but that should not be a reason for rejection.  So hold your judgment until this entire series is over, and until you feel you understand this decimal system well – before rejecting it as flawed or too simple – which it very well at the end may turn out to be.

Although it may sound strange, the underlining prerequisite to obtaining self-knowledge and having a possibility for change is accepting ourselves. Constructive awareness and development cannot be founded on rejection and denial.” – Peter Popper

Let’s start with little simple self-awareness: If you were to hit your head with an object in a really stupid way, in that moment, are you more likely to say to yourself ‘I am an idiot’ or ‘You are an idiot’?. Think about it for a moment. “Ouch….. I am an idiot!” versus “Ouch…. You are an idiot!”.

Which one is more compatible with your inner mental structure? You will immediately feel (but not know why) which one fits more. And while you can learn to force yourself to say the other, the core inside of you that decides which fits better is not going to change. You would force to change just a symptom of something much deeper.  Yet, that is exactly what we do when reading self-improvement books and talking to mentors, we try to learn what to say in those elevator pitches, how to approach customers, how to make business decisions, not recognizing that is the core that guides us and that we need to approach that and not just the symptoms. Are you stuck changing the symptoms?

Change yourself and your destiny will change as well.” – oracle

I have two exercises for you today. First one is this: Imagine you were born with an eye deficiency in such a way that you don’t see color blue. Now think about it hard and explain how would you find out? We will come back to this in later articles.

The second exercise is much more difficult: When you were 1 year old or so, you did not know how to speak yet. You did not have language yet. As such you also could not think! by using words. (Actually your frontal cortex wasn’t even developed to do any conscious thinking.) Everything you encountered at that time you processed without language! Tonight, before you go to bed, go and look at yourself in the mirror. Then look into (not at) your own eyes.  But when you do this, don’t use language. No words allowed. Uttered or thought. Don’t say anything. Don’t think anything using words. Experience yourself without language and reflect on it. Some of you may feel fear, some peace, some anxiety, some something else and some a big nothing.

Both of these exercises use language as a tool to our consciousness and challenge it in a way that we don’t use it in a day to day basis. As such, our next article will be about language.

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For those interested in contacting me directly, feel free to email me at rudyvusa@gmail.com

Zazitek: kupovani nemovitosti vlastnene mestem

V polovine prosince jsem poslal protinabidku na pozemek co chci koupit v Kalifornii. Pozemek vlastni mesto, takze to vyjednavani prodeje probiha o dost jinak nez jsem zvykly.

Chce to mi neuveritelnou trpelivost. Tu se priznam moc nemam. Jsem nejradeji, kdyz vsechno rychle odcipa. Na odpoved od mesta jsem cekal do ted! Tri tydny! Bezne se realitni obchody delaji tak, ze se ocekava odpoved behem 1-2 dnu. Kdyz nekdo cestuje nebo se dlouho rozmysli, tak je to o par dnu navic.

Kdyz jsem volal memu brokerovi at mi rekne jaky je status, tak mi rikal, at na to moc netlacim. Ze kdyz budou videt, ze specham a chci koupit, tak mi neslevni s cenou. Tohle presne znam a je na tom zalozeno kazde vyjednavani. Kupujici se snazi odhadnout jak moc prodavaijci potrebuje prodat. Prodavajici se snazi uhadnout jak moc kupujici chce koupit. A doopravdy ta vysledna kupni cena na tomto zalezi. Videl jsem to mockrat na vlastni oci. Kdyz se kupujici zamiloval do nejakeho domu, tak ho pak prodavajici dokazal uplne natahnout.

Takze jsem si rekl, ze moc tlacit nebudu. Broker me pravidelne informoval, ze mesto resi tu moji odpoved. Ze to asi ma na starosti nekolik ruznych oddeleni. A myslim, ze to dava logiku. Nikdo nechce udelat rozhodnuti sam, aby to nebylo na jeho odpovednost. Kdyz se rozhodnuti rozlozi mezi vice oddeleni a pravnika, tak je to pro takove lidi vetsi jistota. Jenze cim vice lidi je zapojenych tim dele vsechno trva. Posledni tyden to pry udajne lezelo na stole pravnika, ktery to cely tyden zvazoval.

Uprimne me to uz zacinalo stvat. Mozna hlavne proto, ze ten pozemek jsem celou dobu doopravdy chtel koupit . A nemam rad ten pocit, ze ja jsem ten trouba co neco hrozne chce, a pak udela nevyhodny deal. Proto se snazim u kazdeho obchodu o tento pocit oprostit. Mit ten stav mysli, ze mi to je jedno jakkoliv to dopadne. Coz je ale hodne tezke. Asi jako kazdy clovek nemam rad ten pocit nejistoty a chci nejake rozuzleni. Bud ten pozemek dostanu nebo ne. Takze jsem dneska vymyslel plan. Nez abych se dale trapil, tak jsem napsal email memu brokerovi, at zavola brokerovi co zastupuje mesto v pondeli rano. A slusne ho pozada, at mi daji odpoved (ten stejny den). A kdyz ten broker rekne obvykou vymluvu, jakoze to mesto nemuze ovlivnit, ze se rozhoduji a trva jim to dlouho, tak at okamzite rekne, ze tu protinabidku stahujeme zpet.

Ve sve hlave jsem se rozhodl, ze i kdyby to chteli znovu vice zdrzovat tak bych to proste nekoupil. Proto jsem chtel, aby to bylo uplne jasne komunikovane, ze v pondeli musi byt odpoved. Bez jakehokoliv kompromisu. Uplne jsem se s tim vyrovnal, ze ten pozemek nekoupim. A byl jsem v pohode. Me totiz nevadi, ze nejaky deal neudelam. To se mi stalo uz mockrat. Ale vadil me ten pocit, ze ztracim kontrolu a budu do nekonecna cekat. Znovu tady davam tu psychologii. Proste me fakt vadi, kdyz neco moc chci, protoze mam pocit, ze to nikdy nevede k nicemu dobremu. Ze je lepsi mit takovy neutralni postoj. Aspon v tech realitnich kseftech to tak funguje.

A z pohledu druhe strany jsem si predstavil treba tri ruzne oddeleni co v mestu ten obchod schvalili a uz to jen cekalo na schvaleni od posledniho pravnika a protoze ta odpoved neprichazela vcas tak se cely obchod rozpadl. Ono to taky nevypada dobre, kdyz se treba pak rika: “Vis, jak jsme chteli prodat ten pozemek, vse bylo domluvene, ale pravnik delal pomalu, takze kupujicimu dosla trpelivost”. Proste to pro toho cloveka nevypada dobre. Treba za to, ze se pozemek neproda nedostane nikdo ve meste vynadano. Ale kdyz nektere oddeleni udelali svoji praci  (schvalili to) a nektere oddeleni ji neudelalo a jen to zdrzelo, tak to nemusi pro ty lidi vypadat zrovna dobre. Muze to byt takova spina co se treba pak vytahne ve vhodnem okamziku. No k tomuto jsem dosel, kdyz jsem premyslel, co na to mesto muze platit ve vyjednavani. Asi toto je jedina vec.

Vymyslel jsem i back up plan, kdyby se vsichni zucastneni vydesili, ze tomu vyjednavani obetovali uz spoustu casu a ted se to rozpadne. Tohle je v USA hodne caste, protoze lidi si fakt vazi casu a povazuji to za prohru, kdyz se po dlouhem jednani nejaky obchod nezrealizuje. V realite by to fungovalo tak, ze treba v to pondeli by mi zavolali s nejakymi strasne rozumnymi duvody, proc mi nemuzou poslat protinabidku. A apelovali na muj rozumny pristup, ze kdyz jsem uz cekal tri tydny tak se mi nic nestane, ze pockam dalsi den navic. Tohle je velmi caste a takova trosku manipulacni taktika. A z principu bych tak rozumny nechtel byt, protoze pak by ty moje slova o ultimatu byla uplne plana. Nic by to neznamenalo. Premyslel jsem predem jak bych to vyresil. Kdykoliv vyjednavam nejaky obchod tak tyto ruzne varianty mam uz predem vymyslene a muzu pak okamzite reagovat. Takze moje reseni (ktere jsem teda nikomu nerikal) bylo, ze za kazdy den zpozdeni bych chtel o $1 nizsi kupni cenu za ctvercni stopu. Vychazi to zhruba na $40 tisic dolaru. A hrozne se mi libilo jak to zni efektne, kdyz by mi nekdo volal, ze muzou dat odpoved v utery nebo ve stredu a ja bych rekl, ze v pohode, ale ze utery to je o $1 na stopu mene, a ve stredu o $2. Proste trpelivost dosla. Dale uz necekam. Tri tydny je vice nez dost. A kdyz to nejste schopni rozhodnout, tak asi ten vas job moc dobre nedelate.

Uz jsem zazil vyjednavani v minulosti, kdy jsem takto doslova prosil, at mi daji odpoved do urciteho datumu, protoze jsem nutne potreboval prostory. Protistrana to ignorovala. Ja jsem taky trpelive cekal, ale pak uz jsem dal termin, za ktery cekat nebudu. Odpoved neprisla. Ja jsem si nasel jine prostory. Vyhodil jsem meho brokera, protoze jsem byl fakt v problemech (i kdyz on za to zas tak nemohl, krome slibu, ze mi urcite druha strana odpovi). A kdyz uz jsem mel alternativni reseni, tak se najednou roztrhl pytel s lidmi co se me snazili presvedcit at jim dam dalsi sanci. Proste meli pocit, ze jsou pri vyjednavani tak na koni, ze ja ten prostor tak nutne potrebuji, ze toho doslova zneuzivali a neustale zdrzovali a vymysleli kokotiny do smlouvy. Kdyz zjistili, ze uz zajem nemam, tak se vse obratilo.  Ale pro me uz bylo pozde a mel jsem jine reseni.

Ted se mi tyto ruzne pribehy z minulosti pripomneli. A kdyz jsem psal to ultimatum memu brokerovi, tak najednou nejakym zazrakem prisla odpoved. Broker si ji udajne nevsiml, ze zrovna ridil auto do Vegas. Proste kdyz jsem byl uplne rozhodnuty, ze ten kseft poslu do haje a nebudu cekat, tak se to vyresilo. Tri tydny jsem nad tim premyslel, kdy konecne prijde odpoved. A teda nastesti je to vyreseno a ty moje ultimata jsem vubec nemusel realizovat.